Gearing up for winter riding certainly demands more effort compared with those carefree summer days on the road. Find the right spots, though, and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views, trails and experiences the winter riding scene has to offer.
Dig out those base layers, strap your fat tires on and check out these winter riding spots from around the world.
With 1,500 acres of trail networks and 30km of dedicated, well-groomed fat bike trails, Nipika Mountain Resort is a great choice for fat biking with a view.
The resort’s trails are set along the Kootenay and Cross River valleys and offer some of the most scenic views in Canada – including vistas, waterfalls, and wildlife. Ride the South loop for unbelievable panoramic views, or experience some forested trails on North loop, where you can check out the canyon and rivers, and ride across the popular Natural Bridge trail.
Oulu is known as the winter cycling capital of the world – and for good reason! Whether you’re on a road bike in the city or hitting the mountain trails, cycling in Oulu is safe, secure and actively encouraged throughout the winter months.
The Oulu region covers nearly 1,000km of separated bicycle paths, making it possible to travel the whole city by bike. If you want to learn more about cold weather riding, Canadian writer and friend of Two Wheel Gear, Tom Babin, describes Oulu in more detail in his book ‘Frostbike’. He also covers how different countries around the world approach winter cycling, and why pedalling through snow makes him so happy!
If you want to check out the fat biking trails the Oulu area has to offer, head to Liikuntamaa outdoor exercise park. Just 10km from the city, the park has 14km worth of bike trails to suit different levels of experience.
An adventurer’s paradise, Vermont is traditionally known for its ski slopes, hiking trails and fishing lakes. In recent years, though, the ‘Green Mountain State’ has added a fat biking scene to its outdoor repertoire.
The Kingdom Trails Association maintains more than 40km of trail for use by fat bikers all season long. The trails are clearly marked, easy to follow and indicate what level of experience is recommended – so you can safely avoid any navigational disasters.
It doesn’t get much more beautiful than the Alaskan outback for fat biking trails complete with mountain and ocean views. Valdez’s well-groomed, accessible trails suit all levels of experience, and are family-friendly to boot.
Check out Shoup Bay Trail for a quick or easy ride, or bike along Mineral Creek, which leads to either a waterfall-studded canyon or Prince William Sound (where, if the tide is out, you can also enjoy a beach ride!). Don’t leave without visiting Valdez Glacier Lake, either, which demonstrates a winter wonderland of glacial alleyways, ice caves and icebergs.
Fat tire bikes were only made commercially available in Europe a few years ago, but they’ve since taken the Alps by storm – and one of the best places to go is Gstaad. Using the existing local hiking trails, you can snow bike routes of up to 8.6km while taking in the region’s famous winter landscapes.
It’s become so popular that Gstaad now hosts an annual Snow Bike Festival, which is back on the cards for January 2022. The festival caters to both amateur and professional riders, and visitors can enjoy a great buzz about the town, too.
Whitehorse has several fatbiking trails to choose from, but there are definitely some highlights! Bennett Lake near Carcross offers incredible views over snow-covered mountains, or for a longer day’s ride, the Fish Lake and Bonneville Lakes areas near Whitehorse are just as impressive.
Grey Mountain and Mount McIntyre are also popular spots, and the multi-use Millennium Trail is easy to access with a large stretch running alongside the Yukon River, which flows right through the town. If you want to go all out, local tour operators even offer full-package experiences, including a hot tub soak and après under the Northern lights after a day on the trails.
This ski resort in Quebec is home to 26km of dedicated fat biking trails at its Cross Country Skiing Centre. Made up of seven loops, the trail network takes riders all over the mountainside and through sections of Laurentian forest, for an atmospheric – and super Canadian! – winter riding experience.
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